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Student Laser Scientist

Placement at The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Student Laser Scientist

Placement at The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

  • LocationDidcot, UK
  • Position levelPlacement
  • Job period iconFull-time employment
  • Application deadline iconPosted on 11 Oct, 2018
  • Start date iconStart date:
  • Visa iconVisa Sponsor
  • Competitive£ 19,136.0 per year

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, technology and Engineering.

STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate sandwich students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.

STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) is at the forefront of global development and scientific exploitation of high power lasers. In addition to the high power laser systems operated as user facilities, the CLF is also home to the Centre for Advanced Laser Technology and Applications (CALTA). CALTA aims to explore novel laser technology and advance high energy laser amplifier technology and applications for science and industry. CALTA built the world’s first kilowatt:-level high energy pulsed diode pumped solid state laser with a world leading 100 J of energy at 10 Hz (1kW) for the HiLASE facility in the Czech Republic and are now building a similar system for the European XFEL (Germany). CALTA’s DiPOLE10 prototype system provides a valuable experimental laser system platform with which to test new technologies and is under constant development. The CALTA team of scientists and engineers work on several challenging international projects simultaneously.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

CALTA is beginning an exciting new project to advance high energy laser amplifier technology and applications through designing and building new state-of-the-art systems. We offer the opportunity to be involved in a variety of different activities including computer modelling, enhancing diagnostic capabilities, supporting the development to operate DiPOLE at higher pulse repetition rates and playing an active role in cutting-edge experimental campaigns both in the UK, using DiPOLE10, and with our international partners at HiLASE in the Czech Republic. The position offered is within a diverse team environment working directly with staff in the CALTA team and CLF engineers. You will:

  • support experiments with world renowned scientists and solve problems as they occur
  • operate laser and cryogenic systems
  • analyse data and report your findings to the team by written report and presentations
  • enhance the DiPOLE laser system, both on your own and as part of the team
  • choose your own project, from a list, which will be flexible allowing you opportunities to direct and influence outcomes.

In the laser laboratory, you will operate, adjust and control laser and associated electrical and mechanical equipment in a standing position, often for several hours in the course of the working day; for safety reasons, it is not permitted to sit down in the laser laboratories. Mechanical precision is an important element of the role and you must be able to see and adjust the position of laser beams, fiducials, pinholes and other mechanical elements to sub-millimetre accuracy. Please also be aware that lighting is variable and will flash repetitively.

Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills and Experience and any special requirements

Criteria assessed through shortlisting (S), at Interview (I) or both (S&I).


  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry (S)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • first two years of degree course in physics or a closely related subject, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher (S)
  • passed experimental physics laboratory course (S&I)
  • understanding relevant fundamental principles from their university course (I)
  • ability to apply knowledge of science to solve problems (I)
  • experience of standard computer packages (e.g. Office) (S)
  • enthusiastic with an interest in lasers (S&I)
  • highly motivated (I)
  • able to work independently and as part of a team as required (S&I)
  • effective communication skills (S&I)
  • good problem-solving skills (I)
  • responsible approach to health and safety (I).


  • computer programming skills (S&I)
  • experience working in a research or laboratory environment (I)
  • experience working with lasers (I)
  • have taken relevant modules such as
  • optics/lasers (S)
  • programming/data analysis (S).

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

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